Robot 6

Quote of the day #2 | Love and Rockets after death

I’ll freely confess that at the end of the new issue when I saw how Jaime had tied together the fates of Hopey, Maggie, and Ray I started crying like a baby. When I started burbling to Jaime about all this, he said that in working on his recent comics he was thinking that if he were hit by a bus tomorrow and killed he wanted to leave behind a story that would complete his life’s work. Having achieved that goal, the question now is what will Jaime do next.

The Comics Journal‘s Jeet Heer on his recent conversation with Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 co-author Jaime Hernandez concerning the thought process behind his magisterial story “The Love Bunglers.” The only thing more striking than the fact that Jaime set this career-defining hurdle for himself is that he freaking cleared it.

But lest you think Jaime’s brother and co-author Gilbert’s getting no love out there, read the rest of Heer’s piece for (among many, many other things) an insightful defense of Beto’s much lauded but often divisive recent work, in which the sordid B-movies and equally sordid personal life of his buxom therapist-turned-actress character Fritz have taken center stage:

Recent Gilbert has been controversial in some circles because of its pitiless examinations of human perversity, its sardonic play with genre material and its sometimes savage violence. But I think the nay-sayers are so focused on the surface of these works that they ignore the deeper humanity that underlies them: Gilbert these days is often doing stories about damaged people, but he does so in order to lament the damage of physical and psychological abuse rather than to nihilistically revel in sordidness.

It’s worth noting that in his contribution to New Stories #4, Gilbert takes Fritz to a place of potential finality not unlike the one that his brother Jaime’s leading players occupy at the end of “The Love Bunglers.” Yeah, it’s really quite a comic.

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I thought Beto’s brutal “Scarlet by Starlight” in #3 was really fantastic. Horrific, unsettling, and affecting. It was a good complement for the first half of Love Bunglers.

I don’t care much for Fritz as a character but I like how he’s used her as a vehicle for telling all these little B-movie stories. I liked the vampire story in #4 just fine, and the out-of-costume Fritz story was a wonderfully natural slice-of-life, people-walking-around-and-talking story. I didn’t connect too much to the characters — again, I don’t care much for Fritz, and I didn’t pick up the GN that was out a year or two back that presumably gives more background on just what’s going on here — but it wasn’t bad.

On the whole I’d say I’m more of a Beto fan than a Jaime fan, but Jaime’s just been at the absolute pinnacle of his game these last few years. As for Gilbert — well, I’m fine with him getting out of Palomar and finding different characters to deal with and stories to tell, but I don’t really like most of them. (Venus is pretty great, though.) I think his best work over the last few years has been the stuff that’s outside that universe, either Fritz’s movies or the weird, surreal, wordless stuff he’s done.

Man, you are right about Scarlet by Starlight, and how well it complemented Jaime’s material in that issue.

I don’t know if you were reading the last comicbook-format run of Love and Rockets, but if so you’ve covered the stuff in the last Beto paperback, High Soft Lisp — the Fritz GN you spoke of. But if you HAVEN’T, then you really, really, really, REALLY ought to. Really powerful revelations abound that should have you reevaluating Fritz.

Nah, I’ve been playing catchup on L&R; I’ve read Beto’s stuff up through the Luba Trilogy and Jaime’s up through…maybe halfway through the second Locas hardcover. (With a bit of Mario here and there.) I think I started picking up the single-issue stuff right around the time vol 2 ended.

Maybe I’ll give High Soft Lisp a gander, but I was pretty nonplused by Three Daughters.

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